How many times have you sent an email that you felt should have elicited a response, yet instead, crickets were chirping? What happened to those emails—did they fall down a well, waiting for Lassie to find them?
When you send emails, you are simply trying to get your message out to new and existing clients. But sending emails doesn’t automatically mean they’ll be read by the recipients—or even delivered to their inbox. In this blog, we’ll review how to make your email sends successful.
3 Considerations Before You Hit Send
- Sources are the ways that people end up on your send list. How did they get there? Are these people who met you at an event and asked to be contacted? Did they visit your website and opt in to receive email updates? Or were these contacts part of a purchased list? Purchasing email lists is never a good idea because it is ineffective in gaining contacts and annoying to the contacts suddenly on your list. Identifying what sources are generating your contact list is important because they affect the quality of your list. How they engage with your content can provide important insight into the effectiveness of your emails.
- Permissions means whether someone at your company received consent from the receiver to email them. It’s important that email contacts opt in to your list so that your content will be relevant to them. The last thing you want to do is send unsolicited emails that can be marked as spam. No one likes being added to an email list that is irrelevant to them or that they haven’t opted in to. You also want to make sure you’re following the law. The CAN-SPAM Act applies to all commercial email messages, and senders that violate this law can be subject to penalties.
- Expectations are important to your recipients. Have you told them how often they can expect emails from your company? Do they know what kind of content and information they will receive from you? If you send multiple kinds of emails, you can let them choose which ones they want to receive.
The Aftermath of the Send
Once you’ve hit the “send” button, how do you measure the success of the email? Analyzing the metrics of the email helps you understand the effectiveness of your message and gives you data for future sends. Open rates measure the effectiveness of your subject line—did you write a compelling line to peak their curiosity and get them to open the email? Click-through rate measures the effectiveness of your email content. Did the call-to-action (CTA) prompt them to click on it to learn more? It is also important to make sure the subject line and email content match—you do not want to mislead the reader with a subject line that does not deliver what they were expecting. Resist the urge to “bait and switch” just to get a high open rate as this will eventually lead to your emails being deleted, marked as spam, or blacklisted.
Even with awesome content and following best practices, there will be those who no longer want to hear from you. The perfect way for them to walk away is to simply unsubscribe. Having an unsubscribe list of contacts is normal—you don’t want to send content to someone who doesn’t want to read it or has marked it as spam.
There’s another reason your email doesn’t make it into their inbox in the first place—because it bounced. A bounce happens when the recipient’s mail server rejects your email. Here are four types of bounces:
- Recipient bounces – the email address may have been valid at one point, but it no longer exists or it never existed in the first place.
- Content bounces – the mail server determined that it did not like your content. This can include not liking one of your links; not having enough text in the body of your email; your email looks like content that the recipient previously marked as spam; or your email had lots of spelling errors.
- Reputation bounces – the recipient’s mail system decided that it did not like your reputation and refused to deliver the message.
- Temporary bounces – this is also known as a soft bounce. The mail system does not know how to file your content and is waiting to see what happens.
Content bounces are the best kind to have because you then have a chance to revise the problems with the email and can send your message again.
If you are seeing your email lists grow, but engagement is falling, review your lists. Remove anyone who hasn’t actively engaged with your email content over the course of the year. It is okay to remove people from your active lists if they are not engaging in your content. You can also target those contacts with a re-engagement email campaign. A re-engagement campaign is a way for you to ask your contacts if they are still interested in receiving information about your brand. By setting up a re-engagement campaign, you are showing the contacts that you care and want their permission to keep contacting them.
You don’t want to have your emails marked as spam, as it will impact your reputation. If you focus on gaining quality contacts through good sources, ask permission, and set expectations, you should end up with a great list that will provide you with great results for a long time.
Need help with improving your email engagement? Pivot can help. Download “The Components of an Inbound GamePlan” to learn why a strategic GamePlan is essential to inbound success.